H. Rept. 111-691 - 111th Congress (2009-2010)
December 21, 2010, As Reported by the House Administration Committee

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House Report 111-691 - FAIR ELECTIONS NOW ACT




[House Report 111-691]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


111th Congress                                            Rept. 111-691
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
                         FAIR ELECTIONS NOW ACT

                                _______
                                

               December 21, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on House Administration, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6116]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6116) to reform the financing of House 
elections, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that 
the bill do pass.







99-006



                       Purpose of the Legislation

    H.R. 6116, the Fair Elections Now Act (``FENA''), is a new 
and innovative approach to the problem of large donor and 
special interest money in American elections. It combines what 
works in our current campaign finance system--small donations 
made by individuals--with matching public funds to ensure 
competitive campaigns. No candidate would be forced to 
participate. However, in states which have similar models of 
financing, large bipartisan majorities of Democrats and 
Republicans in the state legislatures have participated in the 
system and endorsed the results.
    Why should Congress address campaign financing now? The 
2010 election cycle saw an explosion in the cost of financing 
Congressional campaigns. House candidates had to spend more to 
get their messages heard and had to invest even more time 
trying to raise enough money to compete, and the problem keeps 
getting worse. In every election during this decade, candidates 
for Congress have raised more money from big donors and 
political committees and less money from small individual 
donors giving $200 or less. Voters and candidates suffer from 
this pay-to-play system. With the average cost of winning a 
House seat ballooning to roughly $1.5 million, well-qualified 
Americans from many walks of life, including firefighters, 
nurses, teachers, and others, are prevented from running for 
Congress because of the prohibitive costs of seeking office.
    Public opinion polls confirm that our current fundraising 
system fosters the appearance of a corrupt political system, 
leading our nation's voters to believe that political 
contributions buy political favors, eroding trust in our 
national government:\1\
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    \1\ Susan Liss and Monica Youn, ``Fair Elections--A Win for 
Democracy,'' BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE, 3 (Sept. 22, 2010).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
 A Greenberg-McKinnon national survey from February 
2010 found that 79% believed that Members of Congress are 
``controlled'' by those who fund their campaigns as opposed to 
just 18% who thought voters were in charge.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
 A compilation of 19 swing district Survey USA 
polls in March 2010 showed that voters across the board think 
that Members of Congress listen to donors more than to them by 
an 87% to 12% margin (and by a 90% to 8% margin amongst 
independents).\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
 A Rasmussen national survey in August 2010 found 
that 70% of voters believe that ``most Members of Congress 
[are] willing to sell their vote for either cash or a campaign 
contribution.''\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Id.
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How FENA Works

    The goal of H.R. 6116 is to empower small donors by putting 
elections back in the hands of everyday Americans. FENA 
utilizes a voluntary system that would allow candidates for the 
U.S. House of Representatives to run for office on a blend of 
small donor contributions and limited public funds. The system 
is designed so that only candidates who can prove a broad base 
of grassroots support in their own home states will be able to 
qualify for public financing. Candidates qualify by raising a 
certain number of ``qualifying contributions'' of $100 or less 
from at least 1,500 donors in their home state, along with 
signed statements from those contributors saying that they 
support the candidates' receiving public funds. It is the 
voters in the candidates' own districts who can approve or 
reject the financing.
    After qualifying, participating candidates receive a base 
grant of Fair Elections funds for the primary and general 
election, based on a formula that permits any participating 
candidate to be competitive. The total primary and general 
election grants would be equal to 80% of the average spending 
of a winning campaign over the past two cycles; 40% of that 
amount would be disbursed for the primary election, and 60% for 
the general election. Candidates can continue raising unlimited 
small contributions from individuals from their home state, 
which will be matched 4-to-1 with Fair Elections funds up to a 
cap of twice the initial grant amount. H.R. 6116 thus ensures 
that participating candidates are able to run competitive races 
even if they face a well-financed opponent. Candidates may also 
continue to raise small (less than $100) contributions from 
individuals beyond the cap.
    More than 90% of House Members in the 2008 elections would 
have received more in Fair Elections funds than what they 
raised privately, thus allowing Members to spend more time 
doing their jobs--meeting with their constituents and working 
on legislation--instead of spending time fundraising on 
taxpayers' time. H.R. 6116 will further improve transparency in 
our elections by requiring that all contributions to 
participating candidates be reported to, and audited by, the 
Federal Election Commission. Voters will be reassured that 
their Member of Congress is supported by them and their 
neighbors, and not by anonymous, secretive organizations 
misrepresenting their interests in a particular race.
    Unlike some state public financing proposals, H.R. 6116 
would not require participating candidates to limit their 
spending, provided that their campaigns spent no funds beyond 
the grant allocation amount and small dollar contributions 
(e.g., $100 or less). To further equalize the playing field 
between special interests and individuals, H.R. 6116 would also 
limit party coordinated expenditures, joint fundraising, and 
leadership political action committee (PAC) activities.
    Funding for the program would be obtained from a variety of 
sources: portions from the sale of the spectrum auction, 
voluntary contributions, a portion of civil penalties levied by 
the Federal Election Commission for violations of the Federal 
Election Campaign Act of 1971, unspent and refunded deposits 
from participating candidates, investment returns, and any 
amounts appropriated. The Federal Communications Commission's 
(FCC) authority to conduct broadcast spectrum auctions is 
scheduled to expire in 2012, and if renewed, would likely 
prompt another round of spectrum auctions thereafter. Just 10% 
of the revenue generated through the auctions of unused 
broadcast spectrum (which has generated $19 billion in past 
auctions) would be enough to fully fund Fair Elections for at 
least four election cycles at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. 
Moreover, investing in Fair Elections is a responsible 
investment in good and efficient government. The estimated cost 
for Fair Elections works out to approximately $4 per voting-age 
American per year, and is about 1125th of 1% of our federal 
budget.

The Need for Campaign Reform

    A thriving democracy requires robust competition for public 
office. Yet in most congressional races, the first test to 
political office is winning the ``money primary''--how much 
early cash can a candidate raise in order to prove to the 
public that he or she is a serious contender, giving enormous 
power to those wealthy donors who can afford to give a 
candidate enormous financial backing--often in hundreds of 
thousands of dollars. By contrast, H.R. 6116 encourages and 
enables a variety of highly qualified candidates to run, 
ensuring that voters have a meaningful choice in leadership and 
that having deep pockets is not a precondition to seeking 
public office.
    H.R. 6116 promotes good government by strengthening public 
accountability. Candidates would be accountable to the voters 
of their districts, not large campaign contributors. An elected 
official whose campaign financing stems from a wide range of 
small donors feels less pressure to serve the interests of one 
powerful donor. By reducing the influence that large campaign 
contributions and special interest lobbyists have, elected 
representatives will have the independence they need to 
evaluate policy and programs on merit and public interest 
alone.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\See A Look at H.R. 1826 and the Public Financing of 
Congressional Campaigns: Hearing on H.R. 1826 Before the Comm. on House 
Admin., 111th Cong. 74 (2009) (statement of Hannah Pingree, Speaker, 
Maine House of Representatives) (``[Maine's] public financing system . 
. . allows us to pass bold and bi-partisan legislation that is demanded 
by the public, even when the industry forcefully objects.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 6116 also promotes reform by encouraging political 
speech. Under the Fair Elections Program, qualified candidates 
have the funding they need to make their voices heard. 
Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, H.R. 
6116 respects the right of independent groups to enter the 
political debate, while encouraging a diverse platform of 
political speech. In addition, all participating candidates 
must commit to appearances in several public debates throughout 
the election cycle. Candidates who accept public financing thus 
must accept responsibility to communicate directly to the 
public.
    Public financing of elections has worked with great success 
at the state level. In the three states with laws similar to 
H.R. 6116--Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine--voters and 
candidates alike give the system high marks.\6\ The Election 
Commission in Maine surveys its participating candidates after 
every election cycle, and candidates overwhelmingly support the 
program--95 percent said they were satisfied with the 2008 
Clean Elections Program, and 97 percent said they would 
definitely use the program again, citing their satisfaction 
with being able to concentrate on voters and issues without 
being obligated to others.\7\ Opponents of H.R. 6116 have 
raised the specter that public financing of elections will give 
rise to ``fringe'' candidates outside the political mainstream, 
but in the various states who have public financing there is no 
evidence that this is occurring.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\See A Look at H.R. 1826 and the Public Financing of 
Congressional Campaigns: Hearing on H.R. 1826 Before the Comm. on House 
Admin., 111th Cong. 74, 28-288 (2009) (statement of Arn Pearson, Vice 
President for Programs, Common Cause); see also Lake Research Partners 
Polling, September 2010 (finding that the Fair Elections Now Act is 
supported by 65% of voters in battleground congressional districts, 
with wide support across party lines).
    \7\See id at 287.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Existing state public financing programs are also viable, 
competitive and non-partisan. Hundreds of legislators, state-
wide officials and judges have been elected over the past 
decades in states using a ``fair elections'' system. Candidates 
who have used state citizen-funded election programs now hold 
85 percent of the seats in the Maine legislature, 78 percent of 
the seats in the Connecticut General Assembly, 54 percent of 
the seats in the Arizona State Legislature and 80 percent of 
statewide elected offices in Arizona.\8\ Citizen-funded 
elections can and do work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\See id at 286.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Our democracy is strengthened when Americans are actively 
engaged in our political system. Rather than rely on a tiny 
fraction of wealthy Americans to fund our elections, the Fair 
Elections Now Act encourages democracy through citizen-driven 
campaigns and rewards broad grassroots support by leveraging 
small donor contributions with matching funds.

The Fair Elections Now Act is Constitutional

    For more than 30 years, federal appellate courts--including 
the Supreme Court--have consistently affirmed the 
constitutionality of--and even praised--voluntary public 
financing programs for enhancing the exercise of First 
Amendment freedoms. The U.S. Supreme Court first affirmed the 
constitutionality of public financing programs in Buckley v. 
Valeo, noting that a public financing system aims, ``not to 
abridge, restrict, or censor speech, but to use public money to 
facilitate and enlarge public discussion and participation in 
the electoral process, goals vital to a self-governing 
people.''\9\ The Supreme Court went on to note that:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 92-93 (1976).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          . . . the central purpose of the Speech and Press 
        Clause was to assure a society in which ``uninhibited, 
        robust, and wide-open'' public debate concerning 
        matters of public interest would thrive, for only in 
        such a society can a healthy representative democracy 
        flourish. Legislation to enhance these First Amendment 
        values is the rule, not the exception. Our statute 
        books are replete with laws providing financial 
        assistance to the exercise of free speech.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Buckley, 424, at 93 n. 127. (internal citations omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to encouraging ``uninhibited, robust and wide-
open public debate'', the Fair Elections Now Act will also 
constitutionally protect the integrity of our democratic 
system. Instead of relying on the deep pockets of special 
interests to fund federal elections, the Act will enable 
congressional candidates to run viable campaigns that rely on 
small donations from individuals and grassroots support. A Fair 
Elections system would allow House candidates to spend more 
time in their districts, speaking directly with their 
constituents; making them more accountable and accessible to 
the voters they represent. In this way, the Fair Elections Now 
Act serves key anti-corruption interests, combating ``both the 
actual corruption threatened by large financial contributions 
and the erosion of public confidence in the electoral process 
through the appearance of corruption.'' McConnell v. FEC, 540 
U.S. 93, 136 (2003). The public is thus benefited in a very 
concrete manner: ``[b]ecause the electoral process is the very 
`means through which a free society democratically translates 
political speech into concrete government action,' . . . 
measures aimed at protecting the integrity of the process . . . 
tangibly benefit public participation in political debate.'' 
McConnell, 50 U.S. at 137.
    Most recently, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed Buckley's 
support of voluntary public financing in elections for 
President. In 2008, the Court reaffirmed that ``Congress `may 
engage in public financing of election campaigns and may 
condition acceptance of public funds on an agreement by the 
candidate to abide by specific expenditure limitations . . .''' 
Davis v. FEC, 128 S. Ct. 2759, 2772 (2008) (quoting Buckley).
    At the state level, public financing is available for 
candidates in North Carolina, New Mexico, Florida, Minnesota, 
Connecticut, Maine and Arizona, and these programs have 
withstood legal challenge and have proved to be politically 
popular with voters. Several states with public financing 
programs have recently seen legal challenges to their programs 
regarding the constitutionality of ``trigger fund'' provisions 
in their laws.\11\ Trigger funds are additional public grants 
made available to a publicly-funded candidate facing massive 
spending from either a privately-funded opponent or from an 
independent spender. While the constitutionality of trigger 
funds is presently before the Supreme Court,\12\ the Fair 
Elections Now Act does not have any trigger fund provisions. 
Participating candidates retain the ability to receive small 
donor contributions throughout the election cycle, even above 
and beyond those that are matched by public funds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Scott v. Roberts, 612 F.3d 1279 (11th Cir. 2010) (granting 
preliminary injunction halting Florida from disbursing trigger funds to 
publicly-funded candidate in Republican primary for governor); Green 
Party of Connecticut, 616 F.3d 213 (2d Cir. 2010) (upholding majority 
of Connecticut's Clean Elections Program but striking down trigger 
funds provisions); see also Davis v. FEC, 128 S. Ct. 2759 (2008) 
(striking down the `Millionaires' Amendment' to the Bipartisan Campaign 
Reform Act, a law that raised a candidate's contribution limits when a 
self-funded opponent went over a threshold amount); Day v. Holahan, 34 
F.3d 1356, 1359 (8th Cir. 1994) (enjoining trigger provision of 
Minnesota's campaign finance statute).
    \12\By contrast to the previously cited cases, the Ninth Circuit 
has upheld Arizona's voluntary public financing program, which contains 
a matching funds provision for participating candidates who were being 
outspent by nonparticipating opponents and independent expenders 
opposing them. See McComish v. Bennett, 605 F.3d 720 (9th Cir. 2010). 
The Supreme Court granted cert on November 29, 2010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Accordingly, H.R. 6116, the Fair Elections Now Act, is on 
sound constitutional footing. It furthers First Amendment 
values by directly enlarging public discussion, preventing 
corruption and its appearance, providing House candidates an 
alternative to special interest money, and encouraging 
candidates to reach out to a broader grassroots network of 
constituents.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\See Susan Liss and Monica Youn, ``Fair Elections: A 
Constitutional Safe Harbor,'' Brennan Center (September 15, 2010).
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                       SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY


Sec. 1--Short title & table of contents

    The short title is the ``Fair Elections Now Act'' (FENA).

Sec. 2--Findings and declarations

     TITLE I--FAIR ELECTIONS FINANCING OF HOUSE ELECTION CAMPAIGNS


SECTION 101: BENEFITS AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR HOUSE CANDIDATES

    The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (215 U.S.C. 431 
et seq.) is amended by adding a new title at the end of the Act 
as described below:

     Title V--Fair Elections Financing of House Election Campaigns


                          SUBTITLE A--BENEFITS

Section 501--Benefits for Participating Candidates

    This bill provides qualified participating House candidates 
with payments consisting of allocations from the Fair Elections 
Fund to match certain small dollar contributions to be used 
only for authorized election expenditures.

Section 502--Allocations from the Fund

    For primary elections, participants would receive a grant 
based on 40% of average spending by all winning House 
candidates based on the past two election cycles. An allocation 
of 25% would also be available for a primary runoff election, 
general runoff election, uncontested election and/or recount.
    For the general election, candidates would receive a grant 
based on 60% of average spending by all winning House 
candidates based on the past two election cycles. The base 
amount is equal to 80% of the national average disbursements of 
winning candidates for the office of Representative.
    The Federal Election Commission (``Commission'') is 
directed to make allocations to candidates within 48 hours 
after being certified as a Fair Elections candidate.

Section 503--Matching Payments for Certain Small Dollar Contributions

    The Commission will pay participating candidates 400% of 
the qualified small dollar contributions from in-State 
residents. The Commission will match up to 200% of the grant 
amounts the candidate received. Matching funds will be 
disbursed within two business days after the Commission 
receives the report showing the list of the small dollar 
contributions to be matched.
    Participating candidates must file reports of the receipt 
of qualified small dollar contributions which state: (1) the 
amount of the contributions, the name, address, and occupation 
of donors; or (2) such information as the Commission 
regulations may prescribe. Reports shall be filed: (1) once 
every month until 90 days before the date of the election; (2) 
once a week until 21 days before the election; and (3) once 
every day thereafter until the election.
    The Commission must provide a written explanation for any 
denial of a payment under this section, and shall provide the 
applicant with the opportunity for review and reconsideration 
within five business days of such denial.

               SUBTITLE B--ELIGIBILITY AND CERTIFICATION

Sec. 511--Eligibility

    A candidate is eligible to be certified as a participating 
candidate if the candidate: (1) files a statement of intent to 
seek certification as a participating candidate with the 
Commission; (2) meets the 8 qualifying requirements of section 
512; and (3) files an affidavit during the qualifying period, 
signed by the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate's 
campaign, affirming the candidate's eligibility.
    A participating candidate must comply with the State law 
for qualifying to be on the ballot for the primary or general 
election, and must fulfill the qualifying requirements to 
participate in the program within the Fair Elections qualifying 
period.
    The ``Fair Elections qualifying period'' refers to the 120-
day period which begins on the date the candidate files a 
statement of intent under section 511(a)(1). This period may 
not continue after 60 days before the date of the primary 
election, or the date prescribed by State law as the last day 
to qualify for a position on the general election ballot in 
states without a primary election.

Sec. 512--Qualifying Requirements

    In order to qualify, a candidate must receive a small 
dollar contribution from 1,500 individuals resident in the 
State, or 0.25% of the voting age population of the State, 
whichever is less. The minimum total amount of small dollar 
contributions must be $50,000, and must be obtained in the 180 
day qualifying period.
    Qualifying contributions shall be accompanied by a signed 
statement containing the contributor's name, in-State address 
and an oath declaring that the contributor understands the 
purpose of the contribution is to support the candidate's 
ability to qualify for Fair Elections financing. This statement 
must confirm the contribution is being made in the donor's 
name, from the donor's account, the donor has made the 
contribution willingly, and has not received anything of value 
in return. The Commission shall establish procedures for 
auditing and verifying contributions. No person may be paid a 
commission on a per qualifying contribution basis for 
collecting qualifying contributions.

Sec. 513--Certification

    The Commission will verify qualifying contributions and 
notify the candidate of certification status within 5 days of 
filing the required reports. Candidates certified as 
participants with respect to the first election of the election 
cycle, shall be deemed by the Commission to be certified as a 
participating candidate with respect to all subsequent 
elections of the election cycle.
    Certification may be withdrawn by the Commission if a 
candidate fails to qualify to appear on the ballot at any time 
after the date of certification, or otherwise fails to comply 
with regulatory requirements prescribed by the Commission.
    If certification is revoked by the Commission, candidates 
are required to repay the amount of the benefits they received, 
plus interest, back to the Fund.

  SUBTITLE C--REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATES CERTIFIED AS PARTICIPATING 
                               CANDIDATES

Sec. 521--Contribution, Expenditure, and Fundraising Requirements

    Certified participating candidates shall accept no 
contributions from any source other than the qualifying 
contributions described in section 512, qualified small dollar 
contributions described in section 503, allocations under 
section 502, and payments under section 503. Unlimited spending 
and fundraising from small dollar contributions remains 
permissible throughout the entire cycle.
    A political committee of a participating candidate may 
accept contributions other than qualifying contributions from 
any person if the aggregate amount of the contributions from 
such person for any election during the election cycle does not 
exceed $100 and no portion of such contributions is disbursed 
in connection with the campaign of the participating candidate.
    Except where provided, certified participating candidates 
shall make no expenditures from any other amounts than the 
qualifying contributions described previously in section 521.
    No expenditures shall be made from personal funds or the 
funds of any immediate family member of the candidate (other 
than funds received through qualified small dollar 
contributions and qualifying contributions).
    A candidate who has accepted unqualified contributions is 
not in violation if the contribution is returned to the 
contributor, submitted to the Commission for deposit in the 
Fair Elections Fund, or spent permissibly.
    Candidates that have made prohibited expenditures prior to 
the date the candidate files a statement of intent are not in 
violation if the expenditures are less than 20% of the amount 
of the initial allocation to a candidate.
    Unexpended contributions received by the candidate, or the 
authorized committee of the candidate, may be retained only if 
the candidate places the funds in escrow and refrains from 
raising additional funds for that account during the election 
cycle in which a candidate is a participating candidate.
    Contributions received and expenditures made by the 
candidate prior to the effective date of this title shall not 
constitute a violation. Payments made by a political party in 
coordination with a participating candidate shall not be 
treated as contributions to or as expenditures made by the 
participating candidate.

Sec. 522--Debate Requirement

    Certified candidates must participate in at least one 
public debate before the primary election with other 
participating candidates and other willing candidates from the 
same party seeking the same nomination. For the general 
election, certified candidates must participate in two public 
debates with other participating candidates and other willing 
candidates seeking the same office.

Sec. 523--Remitting Unspent Funds After Election

    Within 60 days of the last election the participating 
candidates are involved in, candidates shall return the balance 
of the funds in the campaign account, or the sum of the 
allocations they received from the grants and matching funds, 
whichever is less.
    If there are outstanding bills that need to be paid after 
the 60-day deadline, the candidate can temporarily retain that 
amount to pay the remaining bills, but must return to the 
Commission any remaining balance within 120 days of the 
election.

                 SUBTITLE D--ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

Sec. 531--Fair Elections Fund

    The ``Fair Elections Fund'' shall consist of six funding 
sources: Appropriated amounts; voluntary contributions; 
transfers from payment of civil penalties imposed for 
violations of the Federal Campaign Act of 1971; proceeds from 
recovered spectrum auctions; deposits made into the Fund under 
section 521(a)(3), section 523, and section 534; and investment 
returns from interest and proceeds from the sale or redemption 
of any obligations held by the Fund.

Sec. 532--Fair Elections Oversight Board

    The ``Fair Elections Oversight Board'' shall be established 
within the Federal Election Commission.
    The Board will be made up of five members appointed by the 
President. Two will be appointed after consultation with the 
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, two will be 
appointed after consultation with the Minority Leader of the 
House of Representatives, and one will be appointed with the 
recommendation of the already appointed four Board members.
    Members of the Board must be appointed no later than 60 
days after the enactment of this Act for a five year term. If 
there is a vacancy on the Board, the position will be filled 
within 30 days, and the individual appointed will only serve 
the remainder of the unexpired five year term.
    The Board will review the Fair Elections financing system 
and conduct a comprehensive review of the program to determine 
if adjustments should be made to the maximum dollar amount of 
qualified small dollar contributions, maximum and minimum 
dollar amounts for contributions, as well as the number and 
value of qualifying contributions a candidate is required to 
obtain to be certified as a participating candidate, and may 
adjust the number and dollar amount of the qualifying 
contributions and qualified small dollar contributions.
    The Board may hold hearings, take testimony, and receive 
such evidence it deems advisable to carry out this Act. Three 
members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for voting 
purposes, but a quorum is not required for members to meet and 
hold hearings.
    By March 30, 2011, and every two years thereafter, the 
Board shall submit to the Committee on House Administration of 
the U.S. House of Representatives, a report documenting, 
evaluating, and making recommendations relating to 
administrative implementation and enforcement of the provisions 
of this title.

Sec. 533--Administration by Commission

    The Commission shall prescribe regulations to carry out the 
purposes of this title, including regulations for verifying 
valid contributions, monitoring and enforcing limits on 
qualified small dollar contributions, enforcing the limits on 
personal funds, and monitoring the use of allocations from the 
Fair Elections Fund.

Sec. 534--Violations and Penalties

    The Commission shall assess civil penalties against 
candidates that violate contribution, expenditure, and 
fundraising requirements that are not more than three times the 
amount of the contribution or expenditure. If the Commission 
determines a benefit was improperly used, or a candidate 
violated the dates for remission of funds, the candidate will 
be notified and shall pay the amount of the benefits used plus 
interest.

Sec. 535--Election Cycle Defined

    The term `election cycle' refers to the period beginning on 
the day after the date of the most recent general election, or 
if the general election resulted in a runoff election, the date 
of the runoff election and ending on the date of the next 
general election.

  SECTION 102--TRANSFER OF PORTION OF CIVIL MONEY PENALTIES INTO FAIR 
                             ELECTIONS FUND

    Any penalties levied against participants in the Fair 
Elections Now Act shall be transferred to the Fair Elections 
Fund in an amount equal to 50 percent of such payment.

    SECTION 103--PROHIBITING USE OF CONTRIBUTIONS BY PARTICIPATING 
        CANDIDATES FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN CAMPAIGN FOR ELECTION

    A certified participating candidate cannot spend any 
contribution accepted under title V for any unauthorized 
expenditures in connection with the candidate's campaign for 
office.

        SECTION 104--PROHIBITION ON JOINT FUNDRAISING COMMITTEES

    No authorized committee of a candidate may establish a 
joint fundraising committee with a political committee other 
than an authorized committee of a candidate.

SECTION 105--LIMITATION ON COORDINATED EXPENDITURES BY POLITICAL PARTY 
                COMMITTEES WITH PARTICIPATING CANDIDATES

    Certified candidates are permitted to coordinate party 
expenditures as long as the allocations do not exceed 10% of 
the allocation for the general election.

   SECTION 106--DEPOSIT OF PROCEEDS FROM RECOVERED SPECTRUM AUCTIONS

    The Communications Act of 1934 is amended by depositing 90% 
of the proceeds from spectrum auctions into the existing fund 
and 10% into the Fair Elections Fund.

     TITLE II--RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

                  SECTION 201--PETITION FOR CERTIORARI

    Expands Commission's authority to initiate, defend, or 
appeal proceedings before the Supreme Court on certiorari.

         SECTION 202--FILING BY ALL CANDIDATES WITH COMMISSION

    All designations, statements, and reports to be filed under 
this Act shall be filed with the Commission.

             SECTION 203--ELECTRONIC FILING OF FEC REPORTS

    Participating candidates are required to maintain and file 
designations, statements, and reports in electronic form 
accessible by computers.

                  TITLE III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

                       SECTION 301--SEVERABILITY

    If any provision of this Act or amendments in this Act is 
held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act and 
provisions shall not be affected by the holding.

                      SECTION 302--EFFECTIVE DATE

    Except as otherwise provided, this Act shall take effect on 
January 1, 2011.

              COMMMITTEE CONSIDERATION OF THE LEGISLATION


                       INTRODUCTION AND REFERRAL

    On March 31, 2009, Rep. Larson of Connecticut and numerous 
cosponsors introduced H.R. 1826, the Fair Elections Now Act, 
which was referred to the Committee on House Administration, 
with an additional referral to the Committee on Energy and 
Commerce. The bill was the subject of a full House 
Administration Committee hearing on July 30, 2009.

                                HEARINGS

    On July 30, 2009, the Committee on House Administration 
held a hearing entitled, ``A Look at H.R. 1826 and the Public 
Financing of Congressional Campaigns.'' The following Members 
were present at the hearing: Chairman Robert A. Brady, 
Representative Zoe Lofgren, Representative Michael Capuano, 
Representative Susan Davis, Representative Artur Davis, Ranking 
Minority Member Daniel E. Lungren, and Representative Gregg 
Harper.

Witnesses

          1. The Honorable John Larson--U.S. Representative 
        (CT-1)
          2. The Honorable Chellie Pingree--U.S. Representative 
        (ME-1)
          3. The Honorable Walter Jones--U.S. Representative 
        (NC-3)
          4. Ms. Hannah Pingree--Speaker of the Maine House of 
        Representatives
          5. Mr. Jeffrey Garfield--Executive Director & General 
        Counsel, Connecticut State Elections Enforcement
          6. Mr. Bradley Smith--Professor of Law, Capital 
        University School of Law
          7. Mr. John Samples--Director, Center for 
        Representative Government, CATO Institute
          8. Mr. Arn Pearson--Vice President for Programs, 
        Common Cause

                                 MARKUP

    In preparation for a Committee markup, H.R. 6116, a 
modified version of H.R. 1826, was introduced on September 14, 
2010, by Rep. Larson, with Reps. Capuano, Cooper, Doyle, 
Edwards of Maryland, Heinrich, Holt, Jones, Nadler, Pingree, 
Platts, and Polis as original cosponsors, which was referred to 
the Committee on House Administration, with an additional 
referral to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
    On September 23, 2010, the Committee on House 
Administration met to mark up H.R. 6116. During the markup, the 
Committee rejected, by a vote of 2-6, a Lungren amendment which 
would have deprived the Fair Elections Fund of revenues in any 
fiscal year in which there was a Federal budget deficit, or in 
any fiscal year in which the total amount of all Fair Elections 
Fund payments exceeded the estimated Federal budget surplus for 
such fiscal year, by requiring that all Fund amounts be 
deposited in the general fund of the Treasury and used for 
deficit reduction. The Committee then ordered H.R. 6116 
reported favorably to the House, without amendment, by voice 
vote, a quorum being present.

             Matters Required Under the Rules of the House


                         COMMITTEE RECORD VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of House rule XIII requires the results of each 
recorded vote on an amendment or motion to report, together 
with the names of those voting for and against, to be printed 
in the committee report.
    The Committee conducted one roll call vote during 
consideration of H.R. 6116. It considered and rejected an 
amendment offered by Rep. Lungren which would have deprived the 
Fund of revenues in any fiscal year in which there was a 
Federal budget deficit, or in any fiscal year in which the 
total amount of all Fair Elections Fund payments exceeded the 
estimated Federal budget surplus for such fiscal year, by 
requiring that all Fund amounts be deposited in the general 
fund of the Treasury and used for deficit reduction. The 
amendment was not agreed to by a record vote of 2 ayes to 6 
noes.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Member                     Ayes      Noes     Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rep. Lofgren.............................       --         X         --
Rep. Capuano.............................       --         X         --
Rep. Gonzalez............................       --         X         --
Rep. Davis (CA)..........................       --         X         --
Rep. Davis (AL)..........................       --         X         --
Rep. Lungren.............................        X        --         --
Rep. McCarthy............................       --        --         --
Rep. Harper..............................        X        --         --
Rep. Brady...............................       --         X         --
                                          ------------------------------
    TOTAL................................        2         6         --
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY

    Clause 3(d)(1) of House rule XIII requires each committee 
report on a public bill or joint resolution to include a 
statement citing the specific constitutional powers granted to 
Congress on which the Committee relies to enact the measure 
under consideration. The Committee states that Article I, 
section 4, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress 
the authority to make laws governing the time, place and manner 
of holding Federal elections.

                  CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(c)(3) of House rule XIII requires the report of a 
committee on a measure which has been approved by the committee 
to include a cost estimate prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act, if timely submitted. The Committee 
requested, but the Director did not submit, an estimate.

                            FEDERAL MANDATES

    Section 423 of the CBA requires a committee report on any 
public bill or joint resolution that includes a federal mandate 
to include specific information about such mandates. The 
Committee states that H.R. 6116 includes no federal mandates.

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the CBA requires a committee report on any 
public bill or joint resolution to include a committee 
statement on the extent to which the measure is intended to 
preempt state or local law. The Committee states that H.R. 6116 
is not intended to preempt any state or local law.

                           OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    Clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII requires each committee report 
to contain oversight findings and recommendations required 
pursuant to clause 2(b)(1) of House rule X. The oversight 
findings are contained in the descriptive portions of the 
report.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    Clause 3(c)(4) of House rule XIII requires committee 
reports to include a statement of general performance goals and 
objectives. H.R. 6116 will enhance the transparency and 
integrity of the Federal election process. Members of Congress 
would find their ability to focus on their job performance 
improved due to the reduced dependence on seeking campaign 
contributions from large donors.

                         CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS

    Clause 9 of House rule XXI requires committee reports on 
public bills and resolutions to contain an identification of 
congressional ``earmarks,'' limited tax benefits, limited 
tariff benefits, and the names of requesting Members. The bill 
contains no such items.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT OF 1971

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE III--DISCLOSURE OF FEDERAL CAMPAIGN FUNDS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                  ORGANIZATION OF POLITICAL COMMITTEES

  Sec. 302. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (6) No authorized committee of a candidate may 
        establish a joint fundraising committee with a 
        political committee other than an authorized committee 
        of a candidate.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(g)(1)   Designations, statements, and reports required to 
be filed under this Act by a candidate for the office of 
Senator, by the principal campaign committee of such candidate, 
and by the Republican and Democratic Senatorial Campaign 
Committees shall be filed with the Secretary of the Senate, who 
shall receive such designations, statements, and reports, as 
custodian for the Commission.
  [(2) The Secretary of the Senate shall forward a copy of any 
designation, statement, or report filed with the Secretary 
under this subsection to the Commission as soon as possible 
(but no later than 2 working days) after receiving such 
designation, statement, or report.
  [(3) All designations, statements, and reports required to be 
filed under this Act, except designations, statements, and 
reports filed in accordance with paragraph (1), shall be filed 
with the Commission.
  [(4) The Secretary of the Senate shall make the designations, 
statements, and reports received under this subsection 
available for public inspection and copying in the same manner 
as the Commission under section 311(a)(4), and shall preserve 
such designations, statements, and reports in the same manner 
as the Commission under section 311(a)(5).]
          (g) Filing With the Commission.--All designations, 
        statements, and reports required to be filed under this 
        Act shall be filed with the Commission.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                REPORTS

  Sec. 304. (a)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (11)(A) The Commission shall promulgate a regulation under 
which a person required to file a designation, statement, or 
report [under this Act--
          [(i) is required to maintain and file a designation, 
        statement, or report for any calendar year in 
        electronic form accessible by computers if the person 
        has, or has reason to expect to have, aggregate 
        contributions or expenditures in excess of a threshold 
        amount determined by the Commission; and
          [(ii) may maintain and file a designation, statement, 
        or report in electronic form or an alternative form if 
        not required to do so under the regulation promulgated 
        under clause (i).] under this Act shall be required to 
        maintain and file such designation, statement, or 
        report in electronic form accessible by computers.
  (B) The Commission shall make a designation, statement, 
report, or notification that is filed with the Commission under 
this Act available for inspection by the public in the offices 
of the Commission and accessible to the public on the Internet 
not later than [48 hours (or not later than 24 hours in the 
case of a designation, statement, report, or notification filed 
electronically)] 24 hours after receipt by the Commission.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(D) As used in this paragraph, the term ``report'' means, 
with respect to the Commission, a report, designation, or 
statement required by this Act to be filed with the 
Commission.]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                        POWERS OF THE COMMISSION

  Sec. 307. (a) The Commission has the power--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (6) to initiate (through civil actions for 
        injunctive, declaratory, or other appropriate relief), 
        defend (in the case of any civil action brought under 
        section 309(a)(8) of this Act) or appeal (including a 
        proceeding before the Supreme Court on certiorari) any 
        civil action in the name of the Commission to enforce 
        the provisions of this Act and chapter 95 and chapter 
        96 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, through its 
        general counsel;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              ENFORCEMENT

  Sec. 309. (a)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (13) Upon receipt in the General Fund of the Treasury of any 
payment attributable to a civil money penalty imposed under 
this subsection, there shall be transferred to the Fair 
Elections Fund established under section 531 an amount equal to 
50 percent of the amount of such payment.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 313. USE OF CONTRIBUTED AMOUNTS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES. .

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d) Restrictions on Permitted Uses of Funds by Candidates 
Receiving Fair Elections Financing.--Notwithstanding paragraphs 
(2), (3), or (4) of subsection (a), if a candidate for election 
for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident 
Commissioner to, the Congress is certified as a participating 
candidate under title V with respect to the election, any 
contribution which the candidate is permitted to accept under 
such title may be used only for authorized expenditures in 
connection with the candidate's campaign for such office.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

  Sec. 315. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (3) The national committee of a political party, or a State 
committee of a political party, including any subordinate 
committee of a State committee, may not make any expenditure in 
connection with the general election campaign of a candidate 
for Federal office in a State who is affiliated with such party 
which exceeds--
          (A) in the case of a candidate for election to the 
        office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident 
        Commissioner to, the Congress who is certified as a 
        participating candidate under title V, the lesser of--
                  (i) 10 percent of the allocation that the 
                participating candidate is eligible to receive 
                for the general election under section 502(a); 
                or
                  (ii) the amount which would (but for this 
                subparagraph) apply with respect to such 
                candidate under subparagraph (B);
          [(A)] (B) in the case of a candidate for election to 
        the office of Senator, or of Representative from a 
        State which is entitled to only one Representative who 
        is not certified as a participating candidate under 
        title V, the greater of--
                  (i) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          [(B)] (C) in the case of a candidate for election to 
        the office of Representative, Delegate, or Resident 
        Commissioner in any other State who is not certified as 
        a participating candidate under title V, $10,000.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


     TITLE V--FAIR ELECTIONS FINANCING OF HOUSE ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

                          Subtitle A--Benefits

SEC. 501. BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPATING CANDIDATES.

  (a) In General.--If a candidate for election to the office of 
Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the 
Congress is a participating candidate under this title with 
respect to an election for such office, the candidate shall be 
entitled to payments under this title, to be used only for 
authorized expenditures in connection with the election.
  (b) Types of Payments.--The payments to which a participating 
candidate is entitled under this section consist of--
          (1) allocations from the Fair Elections Fund, as 
        provided in section 502; and
          (2) payments from the Fair Elections Fund to match 
        certain small dollar contributions, as provided in 
        section 503.

SEC. 502. ALLOCATIONS FROM THE FUND.

  (a) Amount of Allocations.--
          (1) Primary election allocation; initial 
        allocation.--Except as provided in paragraph (6), the 
        Commission shall make an allocation from the Fair 
        Elections Fund established under section 531 to a 
        candidate who is certified as a participating candidate 
        with respect to a primary election in an amount equal 
        to 40 percent of the base amount.
          (2) Primary runoff election allocation.--The 
        Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund to a 
        candidate who is certified as a participating candidate 
        with respect to a primary runoff election in an amount 
        equal to 25 percent of the amount the participating 
        candidate was eligible to receive under this section 
        for the primary election.
          (3) General election allocation.--Except as provided 
        in paragraph (6), the Commission shall make an 
        allocation from the Fund to a candidate who is 
        certified as a participating candidate with respect to 
        a general election in an amount equal to 60 percent of 
        the base amount.
          (4) General runoff election allocation.--The 
        Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund to a 
        candidate who is certified as a participating candidate 
        with respect to a general runoff election in an amount 
        equal to 25 percent of the base amount.
          (5) Recount allocation.--If the appropriate State or 
        local election official conducts a recount of an 
        election, the Commission shall make an allocation from 
        the Fund to a participating candidate for expenses 
        relating to the recount in an amount equal to 25 
        percent of the amount the participating candidate was 
        eligible to receive under this section for the election 
        involved.
          (6) Uncontested elections.--
                  (A) In general.--In the case of a primary or 
                general election that is an uncontested 
                election, the Commission shall make an 
                allocation from the Fund to a participating 
                candidate for such election in an amount equal 
                to 25 percent of the allocation for that 
                election with respect to such candidate.
                  (B) Uncontested election defined.--For 
                purposes of this subparagraph, an election is 
                uncontested if not more than 1 candidate has 
                campaign funds (including payments from the 
                Fund) in an amount equal to or greater than 10 
                percent of the allocation a candidate would be 
                entitled to receive under this section for that 
                election (determined without regard to this 
                paragraph).
  (b) Base Amount.--The base amount is an amount equal to 80 
percent of the national average disbursements of the cycle by 
winning candidates for the office of Representative in, or 
Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress in the last 
2 election cycles.
  (c) Timing; Method of Payment.--
          (1) Timing.--The Commission shall make the 
        allocations required under subsection (a) to a 
        participating candidate--
                  (A) in the case of amounts provided under 
                subsection (a)(1), not later than 48 hours 
                after the date on which such candidate is 
                certified as a participating candidate under 
                section 513;
                  (B) in the case of a general election, not 
                later than 48 hours after--
                          (i) the date of the certification of 
                        the results of the primary election or 
                        the primary runoff election; or
                          (ii) in any case in which there is no 
                        primary election, the date the 
                        candidate qualifies to be placed on the 
                        ballot;
                  (C) in the case of a primary runoff election 
                or a general runoff election, not later than 48 
                hours after the certification of the results of 
                the primary election or the general election, 
                as the case may be; and
                  (D) in the case of a recount allocation, not 
                later than 48 hours after the appropriate State 
                or local election official orders the holding 
                of the recount.
          (2) Method of payment.--The Commission shall 
        distribute funds available to participating candidates 
        under this section through the use of an electronic 
        funds exchange or a debit card.

SEC. 503. MATCHING PAYMENTS FOR CERTAIN SMALL DOLLAR CONTRIBUTIONS.

  (a) In General.--The Commission shall pay to each 
participating candidate an amount equal to 400 percent of the 
amount of qualified small dollar contributions received by the 
candidate from individuals who are residents of the State in 
which such participating candidate is seeking election.
  (b) Limitation.--The maximum payment under this section shall 
be the greater of--
          (1) 200 percent of the allocation under paragraphs 
        (1) through (4) of section 502(a) for that election 
        with respect to such candidate; or
          (2) the percentage of the allocation determined by 
        the Commission under section 532(c)(2).
  (c) Time of Payment.--The Commission shall make payments 
under this section not later than 2 business days after the 
receipt of a report made under subsection (d).
  (d) Reports.--
          (1) In general.--Each participating candidate shall 
        file reports of receipts of qualified small dollar 
        contributions at such times and in such manner as the 
        Commission may by regulations prescribe.
          (2) Contents of reports.--Each report under this 
        subsection shall disclose--
                  (A) the amount of each qualified small dollar 
                contribution received by the candidate;
                  (B) the amount of each qualified small dollar 
                contribution received by the candidate from a 
                resident of the State in which the candidate is 
                seeking election; and
                  (C) the name, address, and occupation of each 
                individual who made a qualified small dollar 
                contribution to the candidate.
          (3) Frequency of reports.--Reports under this 
        subsection shall be made no more frequently than--
                  (A) once every month until the date that is 
                90 days before the date of the election;
                  (B) once every week after the period 
                described in subparagraph (A) and until the 
                date that is 21 days before the election; and
                  (C) once every day after the period described 
                in subparagraph (B).
          (4) Limitation on regulations.--The Commission may 
        not prescribe any regulations with respect to reporting 
        under this subsection with respect to any election 
        after the date that is 180 days before the date of such 
        election.
  (e) Appeals.--The Commission shall provide a written 
explanation with respect to any denial of any payment under 
this section and shall provide for the opportunity for review 
and reconsideration within 5 business days of such denial.
  (f) Qualified Small Dollar Contribution Defined.--The term 
``qualified small dollar contribution'' means, with respect to 
a participating candidate, any contribution (or a series of 
contributions)--
          (1) which is not a qualifying contribution (or does 
        not include a qualifying contribution);
          (2) which is made by an individual who is not 
        prohibited from making a contribution under this Act; 
        and
          (3) the aggregate amount of which does not exceed the 
        greater of--
                  (A) $100 per election; or
                  (B) the amount determined by the Fair 
                Elections Oversight Board under section 
                532(c)(2).

               Subtitle B--Eligibility and Certification

SEC. 511. ELIGIBILITY.

  (a) In General.--A candidate for the office of Representative 
in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress is 
eligible to be certified as a participating candidate under 
this title with respect to an election if the candidate meets 
the following requirements:
          (1) During the election cycle for the office 
        involved, the candidate files with the Commission a 
        statement of intent to seek certification as a 
        participating candidate.
          (2) The candidate meets the qualifying requirements 
        of section 512.
          (3) Not later than the last day of the Fair Elections 
        qualifying period, the candidate files with the 
        Commission an affidavit signed by the candidate and the 
        treasurer of the candidate's principal campaign 
        committee declaring that the candidate--
                  (A) has complied and, if certified, will 
                comply with the contribution and expenditure 
                requirements of section 521;
                  (B) if certified, will comply with the debate 
                requirements of section 522;
                  (C) if certified, will run only as a 
                participating candidate for all elections for 
                the office that such candidate is seeking 
                during the election cycle; and
                  (D) has either qualified or will take steps 
                to qualify under State law to be on the ballot.
  (b) General Election.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), a 
candidate shall not be eligible to receive an allocation from 
the Fund for a general election or a general runoff election 
unless the candidate's party nominated the candidate to be 
placed on the ballot for the general election or the candidate 
is otherwise qualified to be on the ballot under State law.
  (c) Fair Elections Qualifying Period Defined.--The term 
``Fair Elections qualifying period'' means, with respect to any 
candidate for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or 
Resident Commissioner to, the Congress, the 120-day period 
(during the election cycle for such office) which begins on the 
date on which the candidate files a statement of intent under 
section 511(a)(1), except that such period may not continue 
after the date that is 60 days before--
          (1) the date of the primary election; or
          (2) in the case of a State that does not hold a 
        primary election, the date prescribed by State law as 
        the last day to qualify for a position on the general 
        election ballot.

SEC. 512. QUALIFYING REQUIREMENTS.

  (a) Receipt of Qualifying Contributions.--A candidate for the 
office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident 
Commissioner to, the Congress meets the requirement of this 
section if, during the Fair Elections qualifying period 
described in section 511(c), the candidate obtains--
          (1) a single qualifying contribution from a number of 
        individuals equal to or greater than the lesser of--
                  (A) .25% of the voting age population of the 
                State involved (as reported in the most recent 
                decennial census), or
                  (B) 1,500; and
          (2) a total dollar amount of qualifying contributions 
        equal to or greater than $50,000.
  (b) Requirements Relating to Receipt of Qualifying 
Contribution.--Each qualifying contribution--
          (1) may be made by means of a personal check, money 
        order, debit card, credit card, or electronic payment 
        account;
          (2) shall be accompanied by a signed statement 
        containing--
                  (A) the contributor's name and the 
                contributor's address in the State in which the 
                primary residence of the contributor is 
                located;
                  (B) an oath declaring that the contributor--
                          (i) understands that the purpose of 
                        the qualifying contribution is to show 
                        support for the candidate so that the 
                        candidate may qualify for Fair 
                        Elections financing;
                          (ii) is making the contribution in 
                        his or her own name and from his or her 
                        own funds;
                          (iii) has made the contribution 
                        willingly; and
                          (iv) has not received any thing of 
                        value in return for the contribution; 
                        and
          (3) shall be acknowledged by a receipt that is sent 
        to the contributor with a copy kept by the candidate 
        for the Commission and a copy kept by the candidate for 
        the election authorities in the State with respect to 
        which the candidate is seeking election.
  (c) Verification of Qualifying Contributions.--The Commission 
shall establish procedures for the auditing and verification of 
qualifying contributions to ensure that such contributions meet 
the requirements of this section.
  (d) Prohibiting Payment on Commission Basis of Individuals 
Collecting Qualifying Contributions.--No person may be paid a 
commission on a per qualifying contribution basis for 
collecting qualifying contributions.
  (e) Qualifying Contribution Defined.--In this section, the 
term ``qualifying contribution'' means, with respect to a 
candidate, a contribution that--
          (1) is in an amount that is--
                  (A) not less than the greater of $5 or the 
                amount determined by the Commission under 
                section 532(c)(2), and
                  (B) not more than the greater of $100 or the 
                amount determined by the Commission under 
                section 532(c)(2);
          (2) is made by an individual--
                  (A) who has a primary residence in the State 
                in which such Candidate is seeking election, 
                and
                  (B) who is not otherwise prohibited from 
                making a contribution under this Act;
          (3) is made during the Fair Elections qualifying 
        period described in section 511(c); and
          (4) meets the requirements of subsection (b).

SEC. 513. CERTIFICATION.

  (a) Deadline and Notification.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 5 days after a 
        candidate files an affidavit under section 511(a)(3), 
        the Commission shall--
                  (A) determine whether or not the candidate 
                meets the requirements for certification as a 
                participating candidate;
                  (B) if the Commission determines that the 
                candidate meets such requirements, certify the 
                candidate as a participating candidate; and
                  (C) notify the candidate of the Commission's 
                determination.
          (2) Deemed certification for all elections in 
        election cycle.--If the Commission certifies a 
        candidate as a participating candidate with respect to 
        the first election of the election cycle involved, the 
        Commissioner shall be deemed to have certified the 
        candidate as a participating candidate with respect to 
        all subsequent elections of the election cycle.
  (b) Revocation of Certification.--
          (1) In general.--The Commission may revoke a 
        certification under subsection (a) if--
                  (A) a candidate fails to qualify to appear on 
                the ballot at any time after the date of 
                certification (other than a candidate certified 
                as a participating candidate with respect to a 
                primary election who fails to qualify to appear 
                on the ballot for a subsequent election in that 
                election cycle); or
                  (B) a candidate otherwise fails to comply 
                with the requirements of this title, including 
                any regulatory requirements prescribed by the 
                Commission.
          (2) Repayment of benefits.--If certification is 
        revoked under paragraph (1), the candidate shall repay 
        to the Fair Elections Fund established under section 
        531 an amount equal to the value of benefits received 
        under this title with respect to the election cycle 
        involved plus interest (at a rate determined by the 
        Commission) on any such amount received.
  (c) Participating Candidate Defined.--In this title, a 
``participating candidate'' means a candidate for the office of 
Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the 
Congress who is certified under this section as eligible to 
receive benefits under this title.

  Subtitle C--Requirements for Candidates Certified as Participating 
                               Candidates

SEC. 521. CONTRIBUTION, EXPENDITURE, AND FUNDRAISING REQUIREMENTS.

  (a) Contributions.--
          (1) Permitted sources of contributions.--Except as 
        provided in subsection (c), a candidate who is 
        certified as a participating candidate with respect to 
        an election shall, with respect to all elections 
        occurring during the election cycle for the office 
        involved, accept no contributions from any source 
        (including an unexpended contribution received by the 
        candidate with respect to a previous election or a 
        contribution made by any political committee or 
        multicandidate committee) other than--
                  (A) qualifying contributions described in 
                section 512;
                  (B) qualified small dollar contributions 
                described in section 503;
                  (C) allocations under section 502; and
                  (D) payments under section 503.
          (2) Contributions for leadership and related pacs.--A 
        political committee of a participating candidate which 
        is not an authorized committee of such candidate may 
        accept contributions other than contributions described 
        in paragraph (1) from any person if--
                  (A) the aggregate amount of the contributions 
                from such person for any election during the 
                election cycle does not exceed $100; and
                  (B) no portion of such contributions is 
                disbursed in connection with the campaign of 
                the participating candidate.
  (b) Expenditures.--
          (1) Permitted sources for expenditures.--Except as 
        provided in subsection (c), a candidate who is 
        certified as a participating candidate with respect to 
        an election shall, with respect to all elections 
        occurring during the election cycle for the office 
        involved--
                  (A) make no expenditures from any amounts 
                other than--
                          (i) qualifying contributions 
                        described in section 512;
                          (ii) qualified small dollar 
                        contributions described in section 503;
                          (iii) allocations under section 502; 
                        and
                          (iv) payments under section 503; and
                  (B) make no expenditures from personal funds 
                or the funds of any immediate family member of 
                the candidate (other than funds received 
                through qualified small dollar contributions 
                and qualifying contributions).
          (2) Immediate family member defined.--In paragraph 
        (1)(B), the term ``immediate family'' means, with 
        respect to a candidate--
                  (A) the candidate's spouse;
                  (B) a child, stepchild, parent, grandparent, 
                brother, half-brother, sister, or half-sister 
                of the candidate or the candidate's spouse; and
                  (C) the spouse of any person described in 
                subparagraph (B).
  (c) Exceptions.--
          (1) Exception for contributions received prior to 
        filing of statement of intent.--A candidate who has 
        accepted contributions that are not qualified small 
        dollar contributions, qualifying contributions, or 
        contributions described in paragraph (a)(2) prior to 
        the date the candidate files a statement of intent 
        under section 511(a)(1) is not in violation of 
        subsection (a), but only if all such contributions 
        are--
                  (A) returned to the contributor;
                  (B) submitted to the Commission for deposit 
                in the Fair Elections Fund established under 
                section 531; or
                  (C) spent in accordance with paragraph (2).
          (2) Exception for expenditures made prior to filing 
        of statement of intent.--If a candidate has made 
        expenditures prior to the date the candidate files a 
        statement of intent under section 511(a)(1) that the 
        candidate is prohibited from making under subsection 
        (b), the candidate is not in violation of such 
        subsection if the aggregate amount of the prohibited 
        expenditures is less than 20 percent of the amount of 
        an initial allocation to a candidate under section 
        502(a)(1).
          (3) Exception for campaign surpluses from a previous 
        election.--Notwithstanding paragraph (1), unexpended 
        contributions received by the candidate or the an 
        authorized committee of the candidate with respect to a 
        previous election may be retained, but only if the 
        candidate places the funds in escrow and refrains from 
        raising additional funds for or spending funds from 
        that account during the election cycle in which a 
        candidate is a participating candidate.
          (4) Exception for contributions received before the 
        effective date of this title.--Contributions received 
        and expenditures made by the candidate or an authorized 
        committee of the candidate prior to the effective date 
        of this title shall not constitute a violation of 
        subsection (a) or (b). Unexpended contributions shall 
        be treated the same as campaign surpluses under 
        paragraph (3), and expenditures made shall count 
        against the limit in paragraph (2).
  (d) Special Rule for Coordinated Party Expenditures.--For 
purposes of this section, a payment made by a political party 
in coordination with a participating candidate shall not be 
treated as a contribution to or as an expenditure made by the 
participating candidate.

SEC. 522. DEBATE REQUIREMENT.

  A candidate who is certified as a participating candidate 
with respect to an election shall, during the election cycle 
for the office involved, participate in at least--
          (1) 1 public debate before the primary election with 
        other participating candidates and other willing 
        candidates from the same party and seeking the same 
        nomination as such candidate; and
          (2) 2 public debates before the general election with 
        other participating candidates and other willing 
        candidates seeking the same office as such candidate.

SEC. 523. REMITTING UNSPENT FUNDS AFTER ELECTION.

  (a) In General.--Not later than the date that is 60 days 
after the last election for which a candidate certified as a 
participating candidate qualifies to be on the ballot during 
the election cycle involved, such participating candidate shall 
remit to the Commission for deposit in the Fair Elections Fund 
established under section 531 an amount equal to the lesser 
of--
          (1) the amount of money in the candidate's campaign 
        account; or
          (2) the sum of the allocations received by the 
        candidate under section 502 and the payments received 
        by the candidate under section 503.
  (b) Exception for Expenditures Incurred but Not Paid as of 
Date of Remittance.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to subsection (a), a 
        candidate may withhold from the amount required to be 
        remitted under paragraph (1) of such subsection the 
        amount of any authorized expenditures which were 
        incurred in connection with the candidate's campaign 
        but which remain unpaid as of the deadline applicable 
        to the candidate under such subsection, except that any 
        amount withheld pursuant to this paragraph shall be 
        remitted to the Commission not later than 120 days 
        after the date of the election to which such subsection 
        applies.
          (2) Documentation required.--A candidate may withhold 
        an amount of an expenditure pursuant to paragraph (1) 
        only if the candidate submits documentation of the 
        expenditure and the amount to the Commission not later 
        than the deadline applicable to the candidate under 
        subsection (a).

                 Subtitle D--Administrative Provisions

SEC. 531. FAIR ELECTIONS FUND.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established in the Treasury a 
fund to be known as the ``Fair Elections Fund''.
  (b) Amounts Held by Fund.--The Fund shall consist of the 
following amounts:
          (1) Appropriated amounts.--Amounts appropriated to 
        the Fund, including trust fund amounts appropriated 
        pursuant to applicable provisions of the Internal 
        Revenue Code of 1986.
          (2) Voluntary contributions.--Voluntary contributions 
        to the Fund.
          (3) Transfers resulting from payment of civil 
        penalties.--Amounts transferred into the Fund pursuant 
        to section 309(a)(13).
          (4) Proceeds from recovered spectrum auctions.--
        Amounts deposited pursuant to section 
        309(j)(8)(E)(ii)(II) of the Communications Act of 1934.
          (5) Other deposits.--Amounts deposited into the Fund 
        under--
                  (A) section 521(a)(3) (relating to exceptions 
                to contribution requirements);
                  (B) section 523 (relating to remittance of 
                allocations from the Fund);
                  (C) section 534 (relating to violations); and
                  (D) any other section of this Act.
          (6) Investment returns.--Interest on, and the 
        proceeds from, the sale or redemption of, any 
        obligations held by the Fund under subsection (c).
  (c) Investment.--The Commission shall invest portions of the 
Fund in obligations of the United States in the same manner as 
provided under section 9602(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 
1986.
  (d) Use of Fund.--
          (1) In general.--The sums in the Fund shall be used 
        to provide benefits to participating candidates as 
        provided in subtitle A.
          (2) Insufficient amounts.--Under regulations 
        established by the Commission, rules similar to the 
        rules of section 9006(c) of the Internal Revenue Code 
        of 1986 shall apply.

SEC. 532. FAIR ELECTIONS OVERSIGHT BOARD.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established within the Federal 
Election Commission an entity to be known as the ``Fair 
Elections Oversight Board''.
  (b) Structure and Membership.--
          (1) In general.--The Board shall be composed of 5 
        members appointed by the President, of whom--
                  (A) 2 shall be appointed after consultation 
                with the Majority Leader of the House of 
                Representatives;
                  (B) 2 shall be appointed after consultation 
                with the Minority Leader of the House of 
                Representatives; and
                  (C) 1 shall be appointed upon the 
                recommendation of the members appointed under 
                subparagraphs (A) and (B).
          (2) Qualifications.--
                  (A) In general.--The members shall be 
                individuals who are nonpartisan and, by reason 
                of their education, experience, and 
                attainments, exceptionally qualified to perform 
                the duties of members of the Board.
                  (B) Prohibition.--No member of the Board may 
                be--
                          (i) an employee of the Federal 
                        government;
                          (ii) a registered lobbyist or an 
                        individual who was a registered 
                        lobbyist at any time during the 2-year 
                        period preceding appointment to the 
                        Board; or
                          (iii) an officer or employee of a 
                        political party or political campaign.
          (3) Date.--Members of the Board shall be appointed 
        not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment 
        of this Act.
          (4) Terms.--A member of the Board shall be appointed 
        for a term of 5 years.
          (5) Vacancies.--A vacancy on the Board shall be 
        filled not later than 30 calendar days after the date 
        on which the Board is given notice of the vacancy, in 
        the same manner as the original appointment. The 
        individual appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve 
        only for the unexpired portion of the term for which 
        the individual's predecessor was appointed.
          (6) Chairperson.--The Board shall designate a 
        Chairperson from among the members of the Board.
  (c) Duties and Powers.--
          (1) Administration.--The Board shall have such duties 
        and powers as the Commission may prescribe, including 
        the power to administer the provisions of this title.
          (2) Review of fair elections financing.--
                  (A) In general.--After each regularly 
                scheduled general election for Federal office, 
                the Board shall conduct a comprehensive review 
                of the Fair Elections financing program under 
                this title, including--
                          (i) the maximum dollar amount of 
                        qualified small dollar contributions 
                        under section 503(f);
                          (ii) the maximum and minimum dollar 
                        amounts for qualifying contributions 
                        under section 512(d);
                          (iii) the number and value of 
                        qualifying contributions a candidate is 
                        required to obtain under section 512(a) 
                        to be eligible for certification as a 
                        participating candidate;
                          (iv) the amount of allocations that 
                        candidates may receive under section 
                        502;
                          (v) the maximum amount of payments a 
                        candidate may receive under section 
                        503;
                          (vi) the overall satisfaction of 
                        participating candidates and the 
                        American public with the program; and
                          (vii) such other matters relating to 
                        financing of House of Representatives 
                        campaigns as the Board determines are 
                        appropriate.
                  (B) Criteria for review.--In conducting the 
                review under subparagraph (A), the Board shall 
                consider the following:
                          (i) Qualifying contributions and 
                        qualified small dollar contributions.--
                        The Board shall consider whether the 
                        number and dollar amount of qualifying 
                        contributions required and maximum 
                        dollar amount for such qualifying 
                        contributions and qualified small 
                        dollar contributions strikes a balance 
                        regarding the importance of voter 
                        involvement, the need to assure 
                        adequate incentives for participating, 
                        and fiscal responsibility, taking into 
                        consideration the number of primary and 
                        general election participating 
                        candidates, the electoral performance 
                        of those candidates, program cost, and 
                        any other information the Board 
                        determines is appropriate.
                          (ii) Review of program benefits.--The 
                        Board shall consider whether the 
                        totality of the amount of funds allowed 
                        to be raised by participating 
                        candidates (including through 
                        qualifying contributions and small 
                        dollar contributions), allocations 
                        under section 502, and payments under 
                        section 503 are sufficient for voters 
                        in each State to learn about the 
                        candidates to cast an informed vote, 
                        taking into account the historic amount 
                        of spending by winning candidates, 
                        media costs, primary election dates, 
                        and any other information the Board 
                        determines is appropriate.
                  (C) Adjustment of amounts.--
                          (i) In general.--Based on the review 
                        conducted under subparagraph (A), the 
                        Board shall provide for the adjustments 
                        of the following amounts:
                                  (I) the maximum dollar amount 
                                of qualified small dollar 
                                contributions under section 
                                503(f);
                                  (II) the maximum and minimum 
                                dollar amounts for qualifying 
                                contributions under section 
                                512(d);
                                  (III) the number and value of 
                                qualifying contributions a 
                                candidate is required to obtain 
                                under section 512(a) to be 
                                eligible for certification as a 
                                participating candidate;
                                  (IV) the base amount for 
                                candidates under section 
                                502(b); and
                                  (V) the maximum amount of 
                                matching contributions a 
                                candidate may receive under 
                                section 503(b).
                          (ii) Regulations.--The Commission 
                        shall promulgate regulations providing 
                        for the adjustments made by the Board 
                        under clause (i).
                  (D) Report.--Not later than March 30 
                following any general election for Federal 
                office, the Board shall submit a report to 
                Congress on the review conducted under 
                paragraph (1). Such report shall contain a 
                detailed statement of the findings, 
                conclusions, and recommendations of the Board 
                based on such review.
  (d) Meetings and Hearings.--
          (1) Meetings.--The Board may hold such hearings, sit 
        and act at such times and places, take such testimony, 
        and receive such evidence as the Board considers 
        advisable to carry out the purposes of this Act.
          (2) Quorum.--Three members of the Board shall 
        constitute a quorum for purposes of voting, but a 
        quorum is not required for members to meet and hold 
        hearings.
  (e) Reports.--Not later than March 30, 2011, and every 2 
years thereafter, the Board shall submit to the Committee on 
House Administration of the House of Representatives a report 
documenting, evaluating, and making recommendations relating to 
the administrative implementation and enforcement of the 
provisions of this title.
  (f) Administration.--
          (1) Compensation of members.--
                  (A) In general.--Each member, other than the 
                Chairperson, shall be paid at a rate equal to 
                the daily equivalent of the minimum annual rate 
                of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the 
                Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 
                5, United States Code.
                  (B) Chairperson.--The Chairperson shall be 
                paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of 
                the minimum annual rate of basic pay prescribed 
                for level III of the Executive Schedule under 
                section 5314 of title 5, United States Code.
          (2) Personnel.--
                  (A) Director.--The Board shall have a staff 
                headed by an Executive Director. The Executive 
                Director shall be paid at a rate equivalent to 
                a rate established for the Senior Executive 
                Service under section 5382 of title 5, United 
                States Code.
                  (B) Staff appointment.--With the approval of 
                the Chairperson, the Executive Director may 
                appoint such personnel as the Executive 
                Director and the Board determines to be 
                appropriate.
                  (C) Experts and consultants.--With the 
                approval of the Chairperson, the Executive 
                Director may procure temporary and intermittent 
                services under section 3109(b) of title 5, 
                United States Code.
                  (D) Detail of government employees.--Upon the 
                request of the Chairperson, the head of any 
                Federal agency may detail, without 
                reimbursement, any of the personnel of such 
                agency to the Board to assist in carrying out 
                the duties of the Board. Any such detail shall 
                not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil 
                service status or privileges of the Federal 
                employee.
                  (E) Other resources.--The Board shall have 
                reasonable access to materials, resources, 
                statistical data, and other information from 
                the Library of Congress and other agencies of 
                the executive and legislative branches of the 
                Federal Government. The Chairperson of the 
                Board shall make requests for such access in 
                writing when necessary.
  (g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to 
be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the 
purposes of this subtitle.

SEC. 533. ADMINISTRATION BY COMMISSION.

  The Commission shall prescribe regulations to carry out the 
purposes of this title, including regulations--
          (1) to establish procedures for--
                  (A) verifying the amount of valid qualifying 
                contributions with respect to a candidate;
                  (B) effectively and efficiently monitoring 
                and enforcing the limits on the raising of 
                qualified small dollar contributions;
                  (C) effectively and efficiently monitoring 
                and enforcing the limits on the use of personal 
                funds by participating candidates; and
                  (D) monitoring the use of allocations from 
                the Fair Elections Fund established under 
                section 531 and matching contributions under 
                this title through audits of not fewer than \1/
                3\ of all participating candidates or other 
                mechanisms; and
          (2) regarding the conduct of debates in a manner 
        consistent with the best practices of States that 
        provide public financing for elections.

SEC. 534. VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES.

  (a) Civil Penalty for Violation of Contribution and 
Expenditure Requirements.--If a candidate who has been 
certified as a participating candidate accepts a contribution 
or makes an expenditure that is prohibited under section 521, 
the Commission shall assess a civil penalty against the 
candidate in an amount that is not more than 3 times the amount 
of the contribution or expenditure. Any amounts collected under 
this subsection shall be deposited into the Fair Elections Fund 
established under section 531.
  (b) Repayment for Improper Use of Fair Elections Fund.--
          (1) In general.--If the Commission determines that 
        any benefit made available to a participating candidate 
        was not used as provided for in this title or that a 
        participating candidate has violated any of the dates 
        for remission of funds contained in this title, the 
        Commission shall so notify the candidate and the 
        candidate shall pay to the Fund an amount equal to--
                  (A) the amount of benefits so used or not 
                remitted, as appropriate; and
                  (B) interest on any such amounts (at a rate 
                determined by the Commission).
          (2) Other action not precluded.--Any action by the 
        Commission in accordance with this subsection shall not 
        preclude enforcement proceedings by the Commission in 
        accordance with section 309(a), including a referral by 
        the Commission to the Attorney General in the case of 
        an apparent knowing and willful violation of this 
        title.

SEC. 535. ELECTION CYCLE DEFINED.

  In this title, the term ``election cycle'' means, with 
respect to an election for the office of Representative in, or 
Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress, the period 
beginning on the day after the date of the most recent general 
election for that office (or, if the general election resulted 
in a runoff election, the date of the runoff election) and 
ending on the date of the next general election for that office 
(or, if the general election resulted in a runoff election, the 
date of the runoff election).
                              ----------                              


COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE III--SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO RADIO

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 309. ACTION UPON APPLICATIONS; FORM OF AND CONDITIONS ATTACHED TO 
                    LICENSES.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (j) Use of Competitive Bidding.--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (8) Treatment of revenues.--
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (E) Transfer of receipts.--
                          (i) * * *
                          (ii) Proceeds for funds.--
                        Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the 
                        proceeds (including deposits and 
                        upfront payments from successful 
                        bidders) from the use of a competitive 
                        bidding system under this subsection 
                        with respect to recovered analog 
                        spectrum shall be [deposited in] 
                        deposited as follows:
                                  (I) 90 percent of such 
                                proceeds deposited in the 
                                Digital Television Transition 
                                and Public Safety Fund.
                                  (II) 10 percent of such 
                                proceeds deposited in the Fair 
                                Elections Fund established 
                                under section 531 of the 
                                Federal Election Campaign Act 
                                of 1971.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                             MINORITY VIEWS

    At a time when taxpayers want less spending by the 
government, it seems inconceivable that the majority would seek 
to advance a bill to spend some $1 billion per year to 
subsidize politicians' campaigns. Yet that is precisely what is 
happening. H.R. 6116 would take money from taxpayers to spare 
people running for Congress from the burden of having to seek 
voluntary donations. This is wrong as a matter of fiscal 
responsibility, as a matter of policy, and because of the 
consequences it would have for our political system.
    According to available estimates, H.R. 6116 would cost 
approximately $1 billion per year. Because this money would 
have to be borrowed, the actual cost to taxpayers of current 
and future generations would be even higher. Proponents of the 
bill seek to mislead the public by claiming that its costs 
would not fall on taxpayers. For example, in a press release 
dated September 23, 2010, Common Cause stated that H.R. 6116 
``would not cost taxpayers a dime.'' An editorial memo by Fair 
Elections Now dated September 16, 2010 claims that H.R. 6116 
``is not funded with taxpayer dollars.''
    Claims that this bill will not cost taxpayers any money are 
false and clearly intended to hide the truth. The bill includes 
six funding sources in section 101 (proposed new section 531 of 
the Federal Election Campaign Act). Three of them are trivial: 
investment returns, ``other deposits,'' and claiming 50 percent 
of civil fines imposed by the Federal Election Commission 
(these fines have averaged just over $2 million a year over the 
last 15 years, so they would contribute $1 million of the $1 
billion annual cost of the bill).
    The fourth source is voluntary contributions. The American 
people already have rejected the idea of contributing to 
taxpayer-financed elections; only 7.3 percent gave voluntarily 
to the presidential financing system last year, down from a 
peak of 28.7 percent in 1980. The fifth source of funding is 
the allocation of 10% of the proceeds of a spectrum auction. 
However, the auction identified in the bill has already taken 
place and all proceeds already have been distributed. This 
provision, therefore is worth exactly zero. Even if the 
provision referred to future auctions, it is false to claim 
that funding the bill from spectrum proceeds means the bill 
comes at no cost to taxpayers. The money diverted to finance 
political campaigns would otherwise have been used for other 
government programs which now must be paid for with additional 
taxpayer funds. Increasing the overall cost of government with 
a program that tries to hide the cost is a clear attempt to 
conceal important facts from taxpayers.
    The final source of funds, and the only one that would 
provide meaningful funds to support H.R. 6116's programs, is 
the first one listed in the bill: appropriated funds. That is, 
funds allocated by Congress and paid for with tax revenues and 
borrowed funds. The bill's supporters want to conceal it, but 
the simple truth is that is how this bill would be paid for.
    One of the most common points raised during debate on this 
bill was that Members of Congress find raising money unpleasant 
and difficult. Even opponents of H.R. 6116 agreed on this 
point. However, the fact that Members do not like raising money 
is not a reason to require taxpayers to relieve them of the 
burden. When an individual chooses to run for elective office, 
he or she takes on the responsibilities of that choice--
including finding supporters who will contribute their time and 
money to promote the person's candidacy.
    When taxpayer financing of political campaigns was put 
directly to the people of California for a decision via 
Proposition 15, they rejected it by over 750,000 votes, a 
margin of 15 percent. Supporters of the bill cite the examples 
of the Maine and Arizona government financing systems, but a 
recent report by the Government Accountability Office found 
there was no evidence those systems met any of their stated 
goals.
    This bill, then, would cost taxpayers $1 billion per year 
for something they have shown clearly they do not want. And if 
state-level experiments are any guide it also would not 
accomplish anything other than making the funding for elections 
subject to the whims of Congress. The reasons to oppose the 
bill do not stop there.
    A system of taxpayer financing for elections tempts 
candidates who could not otherwise garner financial support to 
run for office to rely on the taxpayers to underwrite their 
campaigns. The result can be candidates who are well outside 
the mainstream of political discussion using taxpayer money to 
espouse their fringe views. For example, Lyndon LaRouche ran 
for president on several occasions using money from the 
presidential government financing system, and even once 
conducted a campaign while imprisoned. In a time of deep budget 
deficits and ongoing pressure to reduce federal spending, we 
cannot and should not require American taxpayers to finance 
candidates whose views prevent them from finding support on 
their own.
    Finally, the bill is likely to have the consequence--
unintended, we hope--of encouraging candidates in both parties 
to be more and more inflammatory in conducting their campaigns. 
The bill is clearly designed to drive candidates toward seeking 
large numbers of small contributions, and supporters describe 
this as a desirable goal. Yet a recent news report described 
the effect of widespread small-donor fundraising on the 
Internet in terms best summed up by one consultant quoted in 
the story: it ``is designed to reward outrageous and uncivil 
behavior'' (``Bomb-throwers bring in big bucks,'' Politico, 
Oct. 21, 2010). For all of these reasons, we strongly oppose 
H.R. 6116.

                                   Daniel E. Lungren.
                                   Kevin McCarthy.
                                   Gregg Harper.